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Bancroft -Irondale Modules
I realize that this track plan isn't very large, but we'll give you a larger view in a minute. 
Let's take a look at some of the prominent features of the plan:

Double-Track or Single-Track Mainline
Reflecting the Bancroft photos, starting from the right edge of the Bancroft module, we have a double-track main line that starts to swing away from the edge of the module and carries on for about 4 feet onto the Irondale module - a total of about 10 feet of double-track mainline.  This is in keeping with the real trackwork into Bancroft.  In a HOTRAK setup, we would have lots of double-track mainline.  But is it really a double-tracked mainline? 
At the right edge of the Bancroft module, we have a switch which provides a crossover to get trains into the station, or around trains that are switching Martin Bros Lumber or the Bessemer Mine.  Wow, passenger train operations that aren't held up by the freights!  So what we now have is a single-track mainline with a run-around track.  Or do we? 
Note that the crossover switch starts about 2 feet from the end of the module. The location of this switch is in keeping with my criteria that the modules have to stand alone when not part of a HOTRAK meet.  I now have 2 feet of track from the edge of the module to the cross-over switch to get a train and several cars from one end of of the Bancroft module to the other end of the Irondale module, and back. 
What we have is a very flexible situation - it's actual use will depend upon the circumstances.  But we aren't finished with the flexibility. 
Martin Bros Sidings

Martin Bros Lumber is a lumber mill - not a lumber yard.  Two parallel sidings are used to ship lumber out.  The 3rd stub-end siding is used to bring saw-logs in or to ship lumber out when things get busy. The nice thing about switching Martin Bros is that other trains can still get through while the freight is switching.  But is the stub-end siding used for Martin Bros?  That depends on how you want to use the stub-end siding.  From an operations point of view, it can be used as part of the  lumber mill, or it can be used to store a local switcher, or it can be used to bring in oil, lcl freight, or any other commodity. Or it can be used to facilitate switching Martin Bros so we don't jam up the main line.  Or it could be just a place to leave cars.  I guess I'm only limited by my imagination and the circumstances on what it could be used for. 
Now take a closer look at the sidings into Martin Bros.  Note that one siding is right in the middle of the edge of the module - the single-track Free-mo standard.  For the Bancroft module alone, we have double-track to single-track.  For Bancroft and Irondale together, we have double-track to single-track, or single-track to single-track.  An even greater degree of flexibility. 

Just to keep you focused on the key points, we're repeating the plan. 

Transition from Bancroft Module to Irondale Module
The interesting thing about the transition between the two modules is that the mainline is still double-tracked - one track at 12" from the edge (Free-mo standard) and the other track closer to the back.  One of my criteria is that each module be track-independent - ie no unconnected tracks when the modules are separated.  In this case, we can attach another Free-mo module and the back track can still be used as a siding.  Or, I can insert another module which could be the mirror image of the Bancroft module and continue with the double-track mainline back down to the front edge to attach to a standard HOTRAK double-track module. In this case, we would have a double-track mainline that is not just a straight line through the modules. 

Bessemer Mines
Switching Bessemer Mines would have the same advantages and fun as switching Martin Bros.  Trains wouldn't be blocking the mainline, the use of two sidings would provide flexibility and ease.  But notice what happens if the Irondale module is attached to a Free-mo module.  We now have a very challenging switching situation compared to when the Bancroft module is attached.  Yet, there's enough trackage to get a locomotive and several cars in and out of Bessemer Mines. 
Childs Mine

The challenges in switching Childs Mine are the same as Bessemer Mine - it depends on whether the Bancroft module is attached, or whether another Free-mo module is its mate.  If the Bancroft module is attached, other trains can get around the switching by using the other "mainline" track.  If a Free-mo module is attached, well, that's another story.  Are you up to the challenge of switching this mine? 
Coe Hill Mine

The greatest switching challenge of all is the Coe Hill Mine.  Again, the degree of challenge depends on whether the Bancroft module is attached.  If  Bancroft is attached, there's still enough of a challenge without crowding the main line.  If another Free-mo module is attached, there's still  enough room for a train to pull off into the Childs Mine siding and let other trains go by. 
Module Length

I know that there's been some discussion on 6 foot modules.  Transportation doesn't present a problem to me as I have a Chrysler minivan.  If I remove seats (which I have done many times for other purposes), I have lots of capacity.  For moving modules in and out of the buildings, I plan to put wheels on the end-plates.  The choice is putting this track plan onto 3 four-foot modules, or onto 2 six-foot modules.  I'm going with the 6-footers.  (In case there's any discussion on slip-switches - I don't like them.) 
So lets take a look at the larger drawing.  I suggest you might want to print this one off to get a better idea of what I've been discussing.  This file is 119k and may take a bit of time to download.  (If you want an XtrakCad copy, send me an e-mail.)  Click on the "Next" button. 

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